Civil engineers specialize in designing complex construction projects to build many of the world’s most utilized structures, including roads, buildings, tunnels, highways, dams, airports, bridges, and water supply systems.
Civil engineers are typically responsible for analyzing survey reports to plan projects, estimating construction costs, evaluating building materials, testing soils for strength of foundations, using design software to form designs, and supervising the entire construction process of their plans.
How much does a civil engineer make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 258,100 civil engineers employed throughout the United States earn an average annual civil engineer salary of $84,140, which is equivalent to $40.45 per hour.
While the bottom ten percent in the profession makes $51,280, the top ten percent of civil engineers break the six-figure salary mark with a mean salary of $122,020 annually. Civil engineers employed by state governments earn considerably less than the average at $76,520 per year, but those that work for industrial equipment repair or maintenance bring home an annual salary of $138,780. The top-paying states for the profession are Rhode Island and California, where civil engineers make an annual wage of $97,720 and $95,750 respectively.
The majority of civil engineers, nearly 48 percent, are employed in architectural, engineering, and related services. Others have found employment by the state, local, and federal government, as well as nonresidential building construction and pipeline transportation. Although civil engineers generally work in an office setting, they may sometimes need to spend time at construction sites to supervise operations or recommend solutions to problems on the site. Nearly all civil engineers are employed on a full-time basis, but many work longer hours than a normal 40-hour week to ensure contractual deadlines are me.
As the nation’s infrastructure continues to age, civil engineers will be facing demand to manage projects to repair bridges, highways, roads, and dams. Growing populations will also spark a need for civil engineers to upgrade water systems to maintain drinkable water and devise waste treatment strategies to clean waterways. With financial troubles hindering the funding of maintenance projects though, employment for civil engineers is expected to grow about as fast as the national average for all professions at a rate of 19 percent before 2020.